Some banks have delayed payday and others have timed redundancy revelations to coincide with it, but things haven’t been as nasty as they might have been.
Who’s paid? All the US banks – think Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Citigroup have announced bonus numbers… Deutsche Bank is thought to have announced at the start of this week, Credit Suisse announced at the end of last week.
Who’s delayed? Some European banks. Barclays Capital is rumoured to have delayed payday until the end of next week (unconfirmed by the bank), UBS is said to have delayed announcing some bonuses until the middle of this week (unconfirmed by the bank – and despite rumours on DealBreaker that better-than-expected bonuses were paid last week).
“Within credit, the bonus season this year has obviously been rather challenging and some banks have delayed announcing to bring themselves in line with their competitors,” says Alex Tracey at search firm Clifden Partners.
Who are we still waiting for? All the French banks – BNP Paribas, SocGen, Calyon, Natixis etc., plus the likes of Rabobank, Rothschild, RBS and West LB.
Who’s been cutting staff around bonus day? Deutsche Bank did the dirty this week and eliminated 30 bankers from its London corporate finance division, according to Financial News. Timing suggests they were probably expecting bonus numbers rather than P45s.
Credit Suisse is said to have put 100 fixed income bankers ‘on watch’ around the time of bonus announcements.
Bank of America is also said to have cut huge swathes of staff after paying ‘horrific’ bonuses, with around eight to 10 people apparently let go from the London commodities team late last month, for example.
And what’s Merrill doing in structured credit? Last week, John Thain sent a shiver through Merrill’s structured credit business with the revelation that he planned to pull out of structured credit altogether.
Merrill, apparently, swiftly retracted this statement. In an interview with the FT , Thain declared his intention to “shrink” sub-prime related businesses, but to grow “the rates business, the currency business, the commodity business and the commercial mortgage business”.
And now the good news…
On the whole, though, the feeling is that bonuses to date haven’t been quite as dire as they might have been. “You read all these endless reports about billions of dollars being lost, but on average pay has been on a par with 2006,” says Wall St pay consultant Alan Johnson.
And even when bonuses have been poor, it hasn’t exactly come as a bolt from the blue. “Expectations have been managed down very well this year,” reflects Mark Horlock at search firm Akamai Financial Markets.